Opera Euro Rapid SF Day 1: Carlsen beats Vachier-Lagrave, Radjabov struggles against So
After having a tough day against Dubov, Carlsen made a strong comeback by beating Vachier-Lagrave 2.5-0.5 in the Semi-Finals of Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Opera Euro Rapid. Although Carlsen won the first set in minimum number of games, he missed a quicker win in the third game. So and Radjabov traded wins in the first three games. Radjabov made an incorrect sacrifice in the third game which cost him the full point. Both Vachier-Lagrave and Radjabov now must win their second set to force tie-breaks and keep Final hopes alive. Semi-Finals will continue tonight from 9:30 p.m. IST. Catch the live stream with IM Sagar Shah and Amruta Mokal on our youtube channel. Photo: chess24 Live stream
Vachier-Lagrave and Radjabov are in a must-win situation
Carlsen took only three games to beat Vachier-Lagrave. However in the third game, he missed a simple win despite not having time trouble, he made a very quick decision which almost cost him a half point. So and Radjabov traded wins before their fourth game ended up in a draw. Radjabov went for an unsound sacrifice in the third game which cost him the game and gave So the lead. Both Vachier-Lagrave and Radjabov now have to win the second set to force tie-breaks and have some hope left alive to advance to the Finals.
Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave: 2.5-0.5
Carlsen had space advantage as well as better placement of his king in the endgame against Vachier-Lagrave. It prompted the France no.1 to make backward knight maneuvering.
Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave, Game 1
As Leko mentioned during the live commentary, maybe black's intention was to provoke 30.b5 but white actually has a better move. What is it?
The second game was a hard fought draw.
Carlsen beat Vachier-Lagrave for the second time in the day and won the first set 2.5-1.5
Carlsen - Vachier-Lagrave, Game 3
Can you think like Carlsen? Find out the best continuation for white after 23...axb5
White has a simple, nice and easy win after 33...Kh8. Find it. Carlsen very quickly played 34.Bd4+ which could probably be a pre-move too. It prolonged the inevitable and white had to play another 16 moves to register a victory.
Find out why 48...Rc7 is a blunder and what black could have done instead to stay afloat a bit longer.
So - Radjabov: 2.5-1.5
So got a very good position in the middlegame where he was allowed to launch a relentless attack on the kingside.
So - Radjabov, Game 1
Should white take the a4-pawn or do something else after 30...a4 ?
Black is about to consolidate and save his king. Of course white cannot allow that. What should white do to continue the attack after 38...gxf6 ?
Radjabov struck back in the second game and levelled the score 1-1. So went wrong in the Rook and few pawns endgame.
Radjabov - So, Game 2
Find out the correct continuation for black after 28.Rxf7
Radjabov made a desperate sacrifice in the third game with the hope of getting something but he neither had enough pieces nor the compensation for it.
So - Radjabov, Game 3
29...Bxh3 was completely uncalled for. It is true that things were not going in black's favor but Bxh3 was not required either. Try to figure out what black could have done instead.
So made a draw comfortably in the fourth game against Radjabov to win the second set 2.5-1.5
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Everyday game starts at 9:30 p.m. IST